Open houses are a great opportunity for both the buyer and the seller. It gives the seller the chance to showcase their home and the buyer can view the home in all its glory. Buyers love to scope out potential homes and many offers are made at open houses. After all, open houses are really sales presentations.
In order to have a successful open house, there are some tasks that should be completed by the seller beforehand.
The most obvious task is cleaning.
- The house should be spotless, including appliances. If you work full time and don’t have the time to get the house cleaned, hire a house cleaning service. The money spent is well worth it if you are able to sell quickly. It might be hard to keep it clean if you are still living there, but you must make a concentrated effort to try.
- It may be helpful to develop a routine so that you do a little bit of work on each day keeping it ready for viewings at any time.
- It is best if you can leave your home each morning for last minute drop in visits while you are at work. It can be a pain, but the pay off can be huge!
- Some buyers are known to be very picky and make a direct comparison between how clean your home is and how well it has maintained. So remember to clean all of the places that snoopy buyers may look. Here are some ideas: under the toilet seat, you dryer lint trap, under your carpets, on top of window sills, the doors (especially around the knobs – especially especially if you have kids!!) and the hand rails. Details matter.
Your home presentation must be impeccable.
- Keep foul and mysterious odors away. The first thing a potential buyer will notice is an offensive odor and you will probably never see them again. Regularly inspect your home for potential odor sources and keep a steady supply of candles and air fresheners on hand. If you have an indoor cat, keep the litter box out of sight and scooped out daily.
- Clutter is a major turnoff to potential buyers. It just isn’t comforting to see piles of clutter everywhere. Keep small appliances stored instead of out on the countertops. It is a good idea to start figuring out what you need and what you can live without. It would be a good idea to have a garage sale before you put the house on the market. If you can’t bear to part with anything, rent a temporary storage unit.
- Remove photographs and knick-knacks. You want people to envision their belongings in the house. Clean out and organize the closets. If there is no reason for something to be displayed, get rid of it.
- If you can, remove non-essential furniture to make the rooms appear larger. Spacious rooms are more appealing to the eyes. Keep your boxes of junk stored out of sight.
- Look at the walls and try to put yourself in the buyers’ shoes. How would you look at the walls in someone else’s house? Is the paint chipping or is the color outdated? It would be well worth your time to give the walls a fresh coat of paint. Nothing makes a room come alive more than a fresh coat of paint. Give the rooms a little bit of a makeover with new décor that compliments the wall colors. An accent wall may be another great option.
Your curb appeal must be at its finest.
You cannot ignore the outside of the house either. The outside presentation has a major impact on the buyer.
- Clean the leaves out of the drain gutter, don’t let garden hoses or other tools pile up outside. Pick them up and store them elsewhere.
- Make the effort to beautify the front entry. If the door handle is rusty or the whole door looks junky, get a new one. Keep the flower beds neat and free from weeds.
- Bring in some fresh flowers from the outside garden and put them in attractive vases. Make sure there are no bugs on them!
- Walk across the street and take a look at your property as if you are a potential buyer (it may even be worth asking the opinion of a neighbor). Doing this will often reveal some ways you can tidy up your yard or improve the appearance. Remember a lot of people drive by homes before they book a showing and it if looks sloppy, old or tired, they’ll make a judgement about the interior of your home and if they want to visit. Homes almost never sell without getting the buyers into the home.
The first impression must be excellent.
- Establish a pleasant atmosphere by baking bread or cookies. Candles add a nice touch along with background music. Classical or jazz music are both good choices. You want to convey style and elegance to your audience. First impressions go a long way.
- Some sellers write notes (handwritten notes are even better) to visitors to answer some common questions about the property and although this seems like a big extra step, it often makes people feel welcome and makes them feel warmer about you and your house than they may have otherwise.
You must be ready for showings at any time.
- When trying to sell your house, you should be prepared for a showing at any time. Last minute requests are very common and can turn into offers. You have the option to request 24 hours notice before a showing, but in doing so you limit your home’s exposure.
- Try to be as flexible as possible. Accommodating the hectic schedules of a potential buyer will make you and your home look that much better.
- It is a good idea to not be present for the showing. Buyers might not feel comfortable in your presence or they might be afraid to ask a particular question for fear of offending you.
- If they can’t view the house fully, they will probably just move on to the next one. You don’t want that. They are supposed to fall in love with your house, not feel like they are invading anyone’s space.
If you follow the advice in this article, you will be well on your way to SUPER CHARGING your first successful open house! You never know when your buyer will walk through the doors, so get your game on!
For other great tips, make sure you ask your great local real estate professional!
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